Council Transportation Committee Moves to Remove Traffic Calming

5_6_09_holmby.jpgEndangered in Westwood.

At an early morning meeting, scheduled for 8:30 A.M. but not starting until close to 9:00, of the Los Angeles City Council Transportation Committee, both sides in the contentious debate over the fate of temporary traffic calming measures placed in near the Palazzo development in Westwood.

The battle between the Holmby-Westwood community and the extended Westwood Village communities.  The result?  The Committee decided to back Councilman Weiss, the extended community and the LADOT and voted to remove the traffic calming so that the field will be clear for a new round of negotiations. For more on the politics of the struggle, click over to Streetsblog stories from yesterday and last month.

Yes, from the people that claim the best way to slow down traffic is to increase the speed limit and that the best way to protect pedestrians in unsignalized crosswalks is to remove the crosswalk comes the new theory that the best way to improve an imperfect traffic calming plan is to rip up the traffic calming and start from scratch.

While the 60% of the residential community that voted to support the current traffic calming measures when it went to a vote were represented by a majority of the speakers, they received a less sympathetic response than last time.  The representative from the City Attorney’s office rejected the resident’s claim that the neighborhood protection plan agreed to by the community didn’t rise to the level of a binding contract, and even if it did that LADOT has the authority to change the boundaries of the agreement.

As for the LADOT, they seemed content to rip out the current measures and start the public process over after a "cooling off period" so that the angry sides from the current disagreement can become friends again.  Once the kumbaya period is over the community can begin to put together a new traffic calming plan.

Probably the lowlight of the hearing came at the end when Councilman Tom LaBonge compared car traffic and traffic calming to damming a river.  Under his analogy, you can damm a river, but the water will flow somewhere else.  Of course, the goal of creating Livable Streets isn’t just to damm that water, but damm it and reduce it.

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